Horses, Porsche to Formula 1, and the Future of Internal Combustion

In 1921, there were more than 25 million horses in a United States populated by less than 110 million humans. I’m not a mathematographer, by any means, but I think that puts us at a ratio of about one horse for every four-ish people out there. And, just like there are many kinds of people, there are many kinds of horses, too. There are Quarter Horses, paints, Arabians, Appaloosas, and – of course – Thoroughbred racing horses.

Something strange has happened in the last hundred years, though. There are a lot more people and a lot fewer horses, for one thing – just 3 million horses for a whopping 330 million Americans – but it’s a curious thing that there are a lot more Thoroughbreds in 2021 than there were in 1921. What’s more, it’s almost certain that the meticulously bred horses spending their 21st Century days in luxurious stables are serving a vastly different purpose than their hard-working forbears.

You see where I’m going with this, right?

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General Motors Files Patent Application for 'Transforming' Cars

General Motors has filed one of the strangest patent requests we’ve ever seen, one that gives vehicles the ability to change their shape. Up until now, a GM-branded transformer was something that only existed in the movies. But it would seem the automaker hopes to develop a real-world example someday.

While the concept and patent drawings mirror an idea I developed as a six-year old with a box of crayons, it does have some practical applications. GM has made it clear it sees a future rife with autonomous vehicles and ride-sharing. However, operating a theoretical fleet of self-driving vehicles comes with numerous hurdles. One of the biggest is finding a place to store them.

Having computer-controlled cars mill about endlessly is inefficient, but so is storing them in a central hub. Ideally, you would locate them in small clusters near the area they’re meant to serve. That’s easier said than done in urban environments. But if a car could somehow collapse itself to half its normal size, new parking opportunities suddenly become available.

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  • Bobbysirhan Direct injection cuts certain emissions that were already so small as to be completely meaningless, but it introduces particulate emissions that aren't a problem on port-injected engines. Stay tuned for a particulate emissions panic to be used as a justification for banning all of the ICE engines produced under recent EURO emissions standards tiers.
  • Kosmo I want to know why Mazda thinks anybody is interested in multiple teasers on a CUV!
  • Namesakeone Please ask the Mazda representative this: Will Mazda ever make cars (besides the 3 and the MX-5) again? I know SUVs and crossovers are all the rage and sell so well and are so profitable, but Mazda made its reputation on sports cars and sedans and coupes that were interesting to drive. Not everything has to be a vehicle that looks like what every other manufacturer is selling. Mazda has enough SUVs in its lineup. Give the enthusiasts something.
  • Ollie Read closer, I wrote $0.15 every 4 miles. I dare say a Dodge Challenger Hellcat will challenge a Model 3 in only one aspect that has any interest to me — raw acceleration. Although I have not ever been in one, I imagine a pretty miserable experience would await in comparison to my quite, smooth & comfortable M3. If I wanted that kind of raw power and the comforts mentioned, there is always the Tesla Plaid.
  • Jesse The math doesn't check out on their claims. The closest I could come to making their numbers work was by comparing a Hummer EV pickup that was unloaded that was charged in Hawaii at double the national average price of electricity to a Toyota Camry at the national average price of gasoline. Hardly an apples to apples comparison. I have ran the numbers here in washington state at my price of 8 cents a kwHr and I can drive a 2022 model s almost 500 miles for the price of driving a Toyota Camry with a 4 cylinder 100 miles.